Like to talk about books you’ve read with others? Portland has a plethora of book groups to join. I currently belong to two. One is winding up: the Maine Historical Society’s We are what we ate. We’ve read a wonderful variety of non-fiction books including a memoir by a New York City chef, a history of 1950s cooking, immigrant food history, and now a luscious history of chocolate through the eyes of the Hershey and Mars companies, as well as readings assigned to us from various books and magazines. We meet once a month, in the evening, and talk about food for an hour and a half – what can be better? The next subject to be read next winter may be Civil War related literature, so stay tuned for that one.
My other book group is at the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association – we meet once a month at lunchtime, so we can indulge in a lot of tea and goodies, as well as conversation about books, which are a combination of fiction and non-fiction, mostly popular with an occasional classic thrown in.
My friend Sue runs a book club through the Maine Irish Heritage Center: the Irish American Club, which meets every other month from about September to May (with summers off) – they read mostly fiction written by Irish or Irish American authors, with a wide range of literature, mysteries, young adult, and historical fiction. The Greater Portland Women’s Social Meetup Group has a book club that meets once a month at Panera’s in South Portland, reading mostly popular fiction and non-fiction.
An international book group out of Longfellow Books meets once a month, and food is served which is tied into the country of the book being discussed. Speaking of food, there is also a Dispatch Beer & Books Club, which meets at Novare Res Bier Cafe.
Most book selections are made by either the group or the leader, but I know of one book group where each member chooses a book to read on their own, and then when they get together they each talk about their own book. I think this is a wonderful way to share what you are reading, without the pressure of having to read a book by a deadline.
Any way you look at it, there are many opportunities to be a part of a book group in Portland, and besides enjoying the book itself, to be able to gather with like minded souls and often enjoy food and drink, whether it’s beer or tea.